Diva Hood Spotlight: Madison Valley, A Francophile’s Paradise

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Divas and Pals at Luc, one of the best restaurants in Madison Valley

As the rainy months start rolling over Seattle, resist the temptation to just piddle around your house in boredom. Instead, bid adieu to your ennui and head down to the petit quartier of Madison Valley. You certainly don’t have to be a Francophile to enjoy the rich French influence of this quaint Seattle hood, but after a visit, you very well might want to be, especially if you check out their annual Bastille Day celebration in the summer.

Madison Valley used to be much different than the bustling thoroughfare that is nowadays. Located just east of Capitol Hill, this hood is still located right in the heart of Seattle, just with a little less hipster and a lot more chic. Once an empty “hollow” as people used to call it, Madison Valley has developed into a charming area, complete with easy access to all parts of the city. In 1992 at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Bailey-Boushay House was founded for the housing and long-term care of individuals with full blown AIDS – it was one of the first such organizations in the country. Very much because of the founding of Bailey-Boushay, the area started to grow due to the imminent need for more accessible restaurants and services. Now, Madison Valley is jam packed with green spaces, some of the city’s best restaurants, unique boutiques, and a plenty of craftsmen-style houses.

Above all else, Madison Valley is known for its fine taste in cuisine, especially of the French variety. Some of Seattle’s most well-known French restaurants are nestled in the valley. We Divas love to treat ourselves to the delectable edibles and wine selections at Rovers and Luc, both French-infused restaurants created by Chef In The Hat, Thierry Rautureau. Another favorite of ours is Café Flora, the best vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free restaurant in all of Seattle. Sometimes, when we want to venture out of the France-bubble, we head just over the France-Spain border to Harvest Vine, a more Basque country-esque tapas restaurant. Finally, if you are in the hood, you can’t finish up a meal without stopping by Ines Patisserie, the most incredible and authentic French bakery in the city. After a taste of the valley, you will never want to leave again.

But Madison Valley has so much more to offer than food. We Divas probably make it down through this hood at least once a week. Our very own pilates instructor, Echo Norris, is located in the heart of the valley. After working on our fitness, we often head over to Frenchy’s Day Spa for a nice little French manicure and some pampering. Another great find down in Madison Valley is Diva Pal Kaz’ new job at Elizabeth Roberts US, which offers a fabulous collection of ingenious outerwear for women to perfectly compliment our new manicures. Not only can we find upgrades for our own looks, but we can also rejuvenate Chez Diva with a few purchases from City People’s Garden Store & Landscape.

All in all, Madison Valley offers a little bit of everything for the average bougie Francophile. Whether you want to just have a taste of French cuisine or take it to the next level and upgrade your look to a more Euro-centric style, you can do it all in Madison Valley. Be sure not to miss this hidden gem.

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